Guidance on Face Coverings

NOTE: This Guidance replaces the Policy on Face Coverings as of March 14, 2022

Beginning March 14, 2022, masks are optional in most University spaces.

Face coverings must still be worn in the following situations:

  • Where required by state or local agencies.
  • As instructed by Global and Community Health following a positive test result for COVID-19 or when identified as a close contact

Continue to carry a mask with you at all times in the event you are in one of the above situations.

Additional guidance on face coverings:

  • The campus community must continue to foster a non-judgmental environment in which people‚Äôs individual choice regarding whether or not to wear a mask is honored.
  • Masks, particularly KN95 masks, continue to be effective in reducing the risk of transmission. The CDC offers guidance on mask wearing, which is a useful resource.
  • EHS has published specific face covering recommendations for aerosol generating performing arts activities.

More Information

For more information about face coverings, please refer to:

 

Protectiveness of Masks

 

Face Coverings FAQs

Do I have to wear a face covering when on campus? 

Starting March 14, 2022, face coverings will be optional in most University spaces, with some exceptions. 

  • Where required by state or local agencies.
  • As instructed by Global and Community Health following a recent positive test for COVID-19 or when identified as a close contact

Continue to carry a mask with you at all times in the event you are in one of the above situations.

May I choose to wear a face covering, even where it is not required?

Yes, please feel free to wear a face covering if that is your preference. The University encourages a culture of non-judgment and no assumptions regarding mask-wearing.

My prescription glasses fog up when I wear a face covering. What can I do?

If your glasses are fogging up when you wear a face covering, it is likely that there is too much of a gap around the nose. Here are a few ways to manage this:

  • Wear a face covering that has an adjustable wire at the bridge of the nose. Ensure that the material fits snugly around the nose.
  • Rest your glasses over your face covering to help block the air from escaping, thus preventing fogging. 
  • Use an anti-fogging eye glass/safety glass cleaning wipe.  In addition to helping to remove smudges on your glasses, these wipes deposit a thin film that helps to prevent fogging.  If you do not have anti-fogging wipes, try baby shampoo*, glycerine soap*, dishwashing detergent*, or a small amount of toothpaste* on a soft cloth to clean your glasses. Shake off the excess and let them air dry. This technique leaves a thin film that reduces surface tension that builds up from your breath, causing fogging.

* If one of the alternatives to anti-fogging wipes are used, avoid the use of fragranced materials and materials claiming superlative cleaning properties (grease cutting, whitening, etc) as these may contain additives that can be irritating or harmful to your eyes and skin. 

I need to wear safety glasses and they fog up when I wear a face covering. What can I do?

By forming a tight seal across the nose and under your eyes, Safety goggles are far less likely to fog up than safety glasses. Consider wearing goggles instead. Alternatively, follow the guidance above for prescription glasses. 

Is a disposable mask safer than a cloth face covering?

Not necessarily. When it comes to masks, fit is the most important factor. The CDC recommends selecting a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of your face. Cloth masks should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric and should be laundered regularly. Disposable medical masks fitted around your nose may also be used. KN95 or KF94 masks are readily available commercially and may be used, but are not required.

We do not recommend that departments provide N95 respirators for voluntary use for several reasons. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has very specific requirements, such as fit-testing and medical clearance, for when employers require employees to wear N95s, and our experience has shown that achieving proper fit for an N95 can be difficult and may not achieve the desired level of protection.

How and how often should I clean my face cloth face covering?

Wash your face covering after each day or when it becomes soiled. 

  • Use a washing machine and regular detergent, warm or hot water. You can wash face coverings with your other laundry. Air dry or place in the dryer. Some elastic can be damaged over time in the dryer, so check the elastic after drying.
  • Wash by hand with dish detergent or castile soap and warm or hot water. Air dry.

Do face coverings really work in reducing the spread of disease?

There are numerous peer-reviewed studies that confirm that masks, even cloth masks, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Tight-fitting face coverings, whether reusable cloth masks or disposable, protect others from potentially infectious droplets that might be generated by the person wearing the mask, and protect the person wearing the mask. This is particularly important because people can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 without showing any symptoms.

The following CDC resources provide guidance and scientific background:

This article provides links to several peer-reviewed studies: Do face masks work? Here are 49 scientific studies that explain why they do

 

>Return to COVID-19 Policies, Guidance and FAQs<